Cover Photo: watercolor painting of houses along a curving road
Watercolor by Muneef Alwan

Why My Father Could Not Embrace His Name

From his youth until late in life he was able to “pass,” his heritage all but invisible until he mentioned his name.

This is Invisible History, a column in which Lauren Alwan chronicles family stories of heritage and belonging and the complexities of her bicultural experience.

The author's father, Muneef Alwan, age 15


Muneef Alwan with his mother, Fausya, in 1944 


Lauren Alwan’s essay is included in the anthology published by Catapult in February 2020.

Fiction and essays in the O. Henry Prize Stories 2018, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA  (Notable, Best American Essays 2016), Alaska Quarterly Review, StoryQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, The Rumpus, The Millions, Nimrod International, and others.  Prose editor at the museum of americana, staff contributor @LitStack. Follow her on Twitter at @lauren_alwan